Former Oklahoma Senator Ordered to Jail

Joe Denoyer - July 30, 2019 10:00 pm

former state senator has been ordered to jail for violating his probation just days after pleading guilty to assaulting an Uber driver.

Bryce Marlatt, a Republican from Woodward, will begin his 90-day stay at the Oklahoma County jail Aug. 12.

His judge on Tuesday revoked his probation in full after Marlatt admitted to driving drunk early March 21.

“It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around,” District Judge Heather Coyle told Marlatt. “That is something that is just not acceptable.”

Marlatt, 42, was charged in 2017 with sexual battery ? a felony ? after the Uber driver reported he made sexual advances and kissed her on the neck during a 37-minute ride in Oklahoma City. He resigned from the Senate and sought counseling for alcohol issues after being charged.

On March 8, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, assault and battery. Under a plea deal, he was placed on probation for 90 days for the misdemeanor offense and fined $500.

District Attorney David Prater told the judge Tuesday that the victim initially wanted Marlatt to spend time in prison. He said the victim agreed to the probation deal out of compassion for Marlatt’s wife and children.

“She showed grace and mercy in the case that I’m not sure I could have,” Prater said.

The prosecutor asked the judge to put Marlatt in jail for the maximum possible ? 90 days. The prosecutor argued the former lawmaker already had avoided a felony conviction, prison time and having to register as a sex offender.

Defense attorney Carl Hughes asked the judge for community sentencing. The attorney said Marlatt recognized the drunken driving incident as a wake-up call and sought inpatient treatment in Texas. The attorney said Marlatt completed the treatment early and is now helping others at the Hope Center in Woodward.

In announcing her decision, the judge pointed out Marlatt committed the new crime only 13 days after getting probation. “It’s almost like you didn’t take it seriously,” she said.

She scolded Marlatt for putting the public at risk by driving drunk. “You could have killed someone else on that road,” she said.

Marlatt’s wife wiped away tears in the back of the courtroom as the judge spoke. Tatum Marlatt had written a letter asking the judge for leniency.

Marlatt was first elected to the Senate in 2008.

He had faced up to 10 years in prison if he had been convicted of sexual battery.

The Uber driver picked Marlatt up at a restaurant in north Oklahoma City on June 26, 2017, and took him to the Pump Bar to meet a female lobbyist. The driver told police Marlatt grabbed her head as she was driving and tried to kiss her but she resisted. She said he then kissed her on the neck. She said he had made remarks about her breasts.

A police investigation found he had been drinking heavily at the restaurant before he was picked up and that he had made inappropriate comments there.

He was charged March 22 in Woodward County District Court with driving under the influence of alcohol after wrecking his pickup. The misdemeanor case is pending and could result in more jail time.

Marlatt has been charged in Woodward County before. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor after being found in December 2014 asleep and smelling of alcohol in his parked pickup on a road.


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